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Can Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Help Reduce Alzheimer's?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

medical marijuana

Story at-a-glance -

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects, may offer hope for treating Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study on mice
  • Rodents with a disease similar to Alzheimer’s were given a synthetic form of THC, which resulted in fewer lost brain cells, 20 percent less sticky plaques in the brain (which are linked to Alzheimer’s) as well as a boost in memory
  • Alzheimer’s mice given THC did as well on memory tests as healthy mice, while those given a placebo lost some of their memory
  • Previous research found that a low dose of THC reversed the age-related decline in cognitive performance of older mice; the dose was small enough to avoid any psychoactive effects, yet strong enough to reverse loss of cognitive performance

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects, may offer hope for treating Alzheimer’s disease, at least according to a study on mice. Rodents with a disease similar to Alzheimer’s were given a synthetic form of THC, which resulted in fewer lost brain cells, 20 percent less sticky plaques in the brain (which are linked to Alzheimer’s) as well as a boost in memory.

In fact, Alzheimer’s mice given THC did as well on memory tests as healthy mice, while those given a placebo lost some of their memory. The study was presented at the Society for Neuroscience 2018 meeting in San Diego, California, and hasn’t yet been published, but it raises hope that a cannabis-based treatment could prove to be therapeutic for Alzheimer’s.


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